Four ways to boost your charter school board’s role in fundraising and development
Do you need your board to boost its role in fundraising and development this year?
Charter school funding has changed a lot since the pandemic began. And more and more charter school CEOs and board members are coming to BoardOnTrack for help here.
Here are four key ways for charter schools to ensure their boards are effective here.
Define fundraising & development
What will fundraising mean for your charter school?
Some boards set specific expectations for what each board member will raise or donate. Others focus on fundraising events or campaigns.
And some charter schools rely largely on grant funding, looking to the board to be more friendraisers than fundraisers.
The first step is to get very clear about what your organizational priorities are for the year (or your multi-year plan, especially if expansion is on the agenda), what funding resources will be required, and how the board will contribute.
Gather the right people
The most effective boards have the right people. And enough of them. That requires a data-driven recruiting strategy.
For instance, where fundraising and development are concerned, you’ll want board members and committee members who have professional fundraising experience.
They’ll know how to develop and implement a realistic fundraising plan.
The committee chair should have an especially strong track record in successfully raising funds and motivating people to take action.
You’ll also want strong communicators who are able to mentor the other board members. So people with marketing or PR experience, especially in nonprofits, can be excellent fits here.
BoardOnTrack members use a three-year recruiting roadmap to see exactly what skills they have on the board today, where there are gaps, and how that will change as people’s terms end.
This is pretty challenging to replicate in spreadsheets or paper surveys (we’ve seen it tried!).
Establish a development committee
Committees are the engine of every strong charter school board.
And if you don’t have enough board members for this yet, you can either function as a committee of the whole (the whole board is on the committee) or recruit non-board members to help.
A charter school board’s Development Committee assumes the primary responsibility for raising non-grant funds to support the organization’s mission.
They’ll develop a fundraising plan (with the CEO or a designee), ensure each board member contributes to that plan and has received any necessary training to do so, and will serve as liaisons to the community.
Embed accountability from the start
Board goals and accountability are consistently high on the list of governance priorities at most charter schools, whether or not their boards have strong fundraising programs.
It’s vital that you set clear goals for your board’s Development Committee. Put those goals to work by assigning tasks to specific committee members, with due dates. And, track your progress transparently.
BoardOnTrack members use the board goals dashboard built right into the platform. That way, they’re using the same tools to manage board and committee meetings, documents, and progress. At each board or committee meeting, they can just open up the dashboard, check in on their pogress, and know what needs to be addressed.
Plus, our members complete a board assessment every year using our built-in tools to measure the board’s capabilities and each individual trustee.
Sam Falk was the Chief Customer and Product Officer at BoardOnTrack and is based in Concord, Massachusetts.